Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Peek-a-Boo Car Seat Canopy by Wannabe Crafty

Some of you may remember my insanely talented sister-in-law, Amanda of Every Crafty Endeavor.
(If you aren't already reading her blog, go do it now)!

Each of my four brothers married incredibly creative women and I'm happy to introduce another SIL today who has just started her own craft blog - Nicole of Wannabe Crafty. It's fun having creative family members!
Nicole recently went to England and started chatting with a women named Lisi, who happens to read my blog (THANK YOU LISI - it still amazes me that people stop here in my little space of blogland). I'll let Nicole explain the rest. Take it away...


Thanks so much, Tam, for having me over today! I'm Nicole and I just barely started blogging over at Wannabe Crafty. There isn't much there yet, but please follow along to see the fun projects I have planned! My next one will be a new *twist* on subway art...

I'm thrilled to be sharing this tutorial with you guys here at Sew Dang Cute. I know there are several great tutes out there for making a cute car seat canopy, so why add one more to the bunch? Well, first because I told my friend, Lisi, in England that I would. And second, because I get asked all the time about one special little feature of my car seat canopy—



The PEEK-A-BOO window!


The window is PERFECT!! I use it ALL the time. Pretty much anytime my canopy is down, the window is open. It gives me an easy eye into the car seat, and lets in some extra air for my little man. When I need to cover my canopy (sleeping baby, germy strangers, windy or cold…) I can check on him without lifting the entire cover and risk waking him or giving up the protection of my canopy. Basically, it’s awesome!

Already have a car seat canopy and wish yours had this handy-dandy feature? No worries— it’s totally easy to add ‘aftermarket’! All you’ll need are two 8” wide x 5.75” tall pieces of fabric. Use your leftover scraps from when you made your canopy; use the fabric square you’ll have after cutting your window ‘hole’ plus some nice coordinating fabric as a border (to add the necessary length/width); or just use coordinating fabric for the whole flap.

This tutorial is dedicated to my friend, Lisi, who will be tackling a canopy as her first sewing project! Yay since my original canopy was my first real sewing project last year! This tutorial includes step-by-step, detailed instructions and lots of pictures (click images to enlarge them) so any beginner seamstresses can follow along. THIS PROJECT IS EASY, I PROMISE! If you’re more experienced at sewing, just ignore the info you don’t need.

A few basic sewing terms before we begin (the ones I didn’t know when I made my original canopy):

Press” just means iron it. When you sew a seam it will initially be 'bubbly', which is why you iron it to make it a nicely creased edge.

Topstitch” means sewing all the way round on top (I usually do ¼” or less from the edge). It keeps your edges nicely creased after washing the item, helps close open edges, and can be decorative as well.

Right sides together” is pretty self-explanatory, but you just take your fabric and put the printed sides facing each other, so your wrong sides (unprinted sides) are facing out.

Directional fabric” has a print that needs to go a specific direction, like words that must be upright as opposed to polka dots which can be turned any direction. If you’re a beginner, I’d really suggest staying away from directional fabric as it just complicates things.

SUPPLIES:
*1 1/3 yard front fabric
*1 1/3 yard back fabric
*4” sew-on Velcro (don't get the adhesive kind)
*Any coordinating fabric, ribbon, etc. to embellish as desired (not necessary)
*A medium bowl from your kitchen (about 7-10" diameter)
*Basics like thread, scissors, pencil, ruler, iron, pins, and of course a sewing machine :-)

Here's what I used:


LET'S BEGIN!

Cut 35” wide x 41” tall pieces out of both your back and front fabric. Save your scraps for later use.

Round the corners using a medium bowl to trace the curve (mine was 8.5” diameter).
Place those two large pieces right sides together (see photo below). Sew around the edge with a ½” seam, but be sure to leave an opening (approx. 8”) somewhere so you can turn it right side out later.


Cut little tiny slits around the rounded corners (being careful NOT to cut through your seam).

Reach in through your opening, grab the other end, and pull to turn the fabric right side out.


Press your edges, turning the fabric under ½” where you left the opening so everything lines up nicely.


Topstitch at about ¼" and set aside.

Cut two strips 5” wide x 8.5” tall out of your outer fabric for the straps. Take each strip and fold it in half, right sides together along the long edge. Sew along the long edge and one short edge with a ½” seam. Clip the corner. (Only one corner is clipped in this photo, but be sure to clip the corner on both strips).

Turning a narrow tube right side out can be tricky. Just keep maneuvering like so until it’s done.
(Tam cutting in to give you a quick tip about turning a tube out in SECONDS using my tutorial here. Seriously, it will save you so much time and headache! Ok back to Nicole).

Take a BLUNT tip and use it to help you poke out those little corners.

Turn the open short edge under ½” and press.

Now topstitch all the way around.
Cut 2” of Velcro and sew it onto the ends of each strap. Sew the rough piece of Velcro to one side and the soft piece of Velcro to the opposite side of each strap, like in the photos. Don’t put them both on the same side of the strap. This way, when you wrap it around the car seat handle it all works out. Repeat with the other strap.


Now for your window flap: cut 2 pieces 5.75” x 8”. On my original car seat cover, I used the outer fabric on top and my inside fabric on the inside because that just makes sense, right? But when I opened the flap I thought it looked weird to have a random patch of my inside fabric showing. So this time I used my outer/front fabric for the inside/back piece. **If using directional fabric, make sure when sewing them together that you place the inside piece upside down so when you flip the flap up it doesn't look upside down.**
Place the pieces right sides together and sew together with a ½” seam, again leaving an opening for turning (about 3”).

Clip your corners.

Turn it right side out and press your seams, also pressing ½” under on your open side just like you did on the canopy. Topstitch.
Now it’s time to cut out the window. You will be cutting a square 4” wide and 2” tall. Measure 15” in on each side, and 14.75” up from the bottom to find the bottom corners for where to cut your window ‘hole’. The mark up two inches and draw the square.
Now before you cut, trace a bigger square onto your fabric around the 4” x 2” one. It should be ½” wider in all directions.


Carefully cut out the SMALL square. Use sharp scissors to cut your corners on a 45 degree angle, being careful to cut just to the corner and not beyond your markings.

Turn your edges under along the "bigger square" line you traced and press.

Topstitch.

Now add the flap over the window by lining it up centered over the hole. Make sure you leave enough overhang on bottom so your flap won’t slip into the hole all the time. (On my original car seat canopy, I used Velcro to keep the flap down, but after much use I decided it was unnecessary, and even obnoxious at times. The flap stayed down fine and the Velcro only made it take two hands on occasion to open the flap). I ended up with about ½” overhang on each side and 1” on the bottom. Stitch it down ONLY on the top.

Almost done! Now to secure the straps. Mark a box in the center of the strap. It should be 1” wide x the line of your topstitch. (I forgot to take a photo of this before I started sewing).

Line them up like in the photo here: 6” apart, and rising about 6.75” above the top of your window. The sides will overlap onto your window flap, that’s okay.

Sew along the box line your drew, and add an X if desired for more stability. Repeat on other strap.


VOILA!

And now you have the niftiest car seat canopy on the block!

With the alpha circle print, I just couldn't resist using my Silhouette to add a cute monogram to the flap!




This is a GREAT first "real" sewing project, and if the window part is too intimidating just skip it! Most car seat canopies don’t have one anyway :-) I could barely sew a straight line when I made my original canopy (seriously, the rounded corners had me freaked!), and it turned out fine. Besides, if it’s not perfect, that’s your little secret. When using my original canopy to get all the measurements to make a second one and write this tutorial, I discovered loads of imperfections that I had never noticed before, even though I use it daily.

Have fun with this project!!

PS- I have to tell you how much I love that this fabric matches both the lime green and gray of my car seat, and the neon turquoise on my diaper bag :-) How perfect is that?!

Thanks Nicole! I love her so much!!! Please go pop over and say hello and welcome her to the crazy world of blogland will ya?

And remember to visit my other fabulous SIL whom I love dearly, Amanda for another great read!



13 comments:

  1. Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

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  2. Great idea! Excellent tutorial! Kristy from www.apronsandapples.blogspot.com

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  3. Thanks for this, it is exactly what I looking for!!

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  4. Thank you sooooo much for this great tutorial! I made the cutest canopy for my baby!

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  5. Awesome tutorial! very clear and informative, my favorite yet! I just made my first canopy and im a new sewer too it came out great, thanks a bunch! :)

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  6. Thank you thank you thank you!!! This will be perfect for the our first grandson and the instructions? I adore instructions and images and as i am a list check-er off-er (lol), this will be perfect!!! Think you have a new fan!!!

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    1. Think i will preview next time after all- good grief! Sound, um, tired? :)

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  7. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, it is really appreciated. Kindest regards

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  8. Your silloutte cuts fabric!? I have. Cricut does it cit fabric I wonder?!?!?!

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  9. I've made so many of these, but not with the beek-a-boo window. So clever! I'm gonna try it :-)!!

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  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I'm new to sewing and mine turned out great thanks to your easy to follow instructions. Thanks so much for sharing. The peek-a-boo window is perfect!

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  11. Thanks for the tutorial. I was planning on making a carseat canopy for this baby with a window, but was a little stumped on how to make the raw edges disappear. Thanks for the idea of doing a double square. Worked perfect. I did make my window slightly larger and added some VERY thin vinyl, to prevent the cover from falling through the hole, which worked out perfect. Thanks again for sharing your talents. :)

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  12. When sewing the peek-a-boo hole, could one sew a square with the same measurements and cut it out before flipping it to the outside? (I hope that makes sense.) It seems like a few steps may be able to be saved.... just curious. Thanks again for the great tut!

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Where I am no longer blogging, this blog is for reading purposes only. I am afraid I just can't keep up with it anymore, therefore, I may not be able to reply to all comments. Thank you.

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